Echo and narcissus




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does not merit that appreication,

for the ribbon that the wind took

flying by chance from my hair is no favor,

since, even though I understand

nothing about love, the occasion

is supposed to be taken, and the favor given.

In this way, until I give it freely,

please do not hold it as a favor.

Returning it to me is better, so that

I will later give it from my hand

to one whomever I want

to have it with my approval.
FEBO: Even though my fears prevent me

from ever hoping for such good fortune,

I return the ribbon to you.
He gives it back to her.
SILVIO: I do as well, even though I do not believe

that my desire will ever again

be seen with your favor.
BATO: If having returned it to you here

is so that you can give it to the one

who is handsomest, come then,

for it is clear that it is for me.


SILENO: You the most handsome?

BATO: Why not?

What more do I need to be it

except for all the rest to agree on it

today as I do?
SILVIO: Since the two of us have restored to you

that iris of colors,

that with such glittering

has been the flattery of the wind,

I implore that today your beauty

give us your word.

Declare which of the two of us

it is, as you offered to do.


FEBO: Do not give such a sentence

and know that,

if I returned it to you, it was only

in order to obey you and not

because I ever presumed to merit it.

That being the case, I warn you

not to bestow it,

since I come to be so unhappy

in loving and suffering

that I even fear I will lose

the hope that I do not even have.
SILVIO: I have not had it either,

but rather more distrust,

having wished to see

my suffering made known.

But if I have to die

surrendered to doubt,

it is better that my faith come stripped

of its illusions to the harm (injury?),

to die of disenchantment

if I must die of doubt


FEBO: I guess that both doubt

and disillusion are necessary today.

And since it is not possible for me

to have the happiness for which I do not hope,

I want to live today full of doubt

rather than disillusioned,

that in my unhappy state

it is a less painful occurrence

to be blessed in doubt

than in certainty unfortunate.


SILVIO: He loves little who, consoled in his

illusion, does not love the

favors of his lady.
FEBO: He who has no fear of disillusionment

loves even less.


SILVIO: Doubt is a strange sort of pain.
FEBO: I want to suffer it.
SILVIO: To want to doubt is not to love.
FEBO: To want to know is not to love.
SILVIO: Well, I do not want to doubt.
FEBO: And I do not want to know.
ECHO: You declare your love for me,

and you request my silence,

and I will equalize the two

of the doubt that you are in.

May the blind god here give me

the ability both to speak and

remain silent. Only this way

can one judge both speaking

and remaining silent.

I will give the ribbon to the one

who gives me the greatest display

of his love.


FEBO: I accept the condition,

and only that condition could

manage to be the thing that

gave wings to my boasting.

I base it on this reason:

it is not within me to deserve it,

but it is within me to serve,

and so I am able to have hope,

that it is not within me to deserve it,

but it is within me to make

demonstrations of my love.
SILVIO: I do not accept the condition,

because, if I were so happy

to be able to make displays of my love,

I would not save them for this purpose.

A perfect love never reserved them.

This being the case,

I fear the condition,

that my steadfast heart

will not be able to make one greater

than what it has done thus far.


Anteo enters with Liríope.
ANTEO: Beautiful Echo, upon whom the heavens

bestowed such favors,

pretty damsels, shepherds,

honor of the Arcadian soil,

live, live without distrust

of that monster that astounded you

so painfully every time that

you saw it, as it is now

humble and defeated,

kissing Echo’s feet.

In your name I went into the wilderness,

and in the wilderness I found it.

Not for its admiration have

I brought it here to you,

nor to see how it is covered

in hair, nor must you admire

how it walks, but instead

to hear it speak, for it is that it has

a human voice like ours, that

makes it so singular.

Ask it questions, talk with it,

and it will respond to everything.

ECHO: If you know how to speak, tell us now,

who are you, cruel monster?


FEBO: Let your horror speak to us truthfully,

how much it feels its captivity.


SILVIO: Of what different species are you?
SILENO: Do you know where you are?
LIRÍOPE: As I can remain silent no longer,

listen to me attentively:

I, shepherds of Arcadia,

am not, as you all presume,

an irrational monster, but

an unfortunate woman.

If the deception has not been

very obvious, if you realize that

it is only because I was born

to be a monster of fortune.

These valleys, which are always

filled with one shade of color

or another, since all year round

they know no month but April,

were my first cradle.

Would that this crystalline blueness,

had then been my tomb and my cradle.

I was young, and my beauty had scarcely

begun to discover

in its first daybreaks

some pleasing charm,

(permit me to say this)

that the sun never saw

a happy beauty.

when Céfiro also began to discover it.

Céfiro, a handsome young man,

a son of the subtle breeze

by name, because his father

must have called this too,

saw me in the meadow one afternoon,

and, having fallen in love with me,

courteously gave me to understand

his love, to which the carmine

of my cheeks responded,

not talkative, but silently.

From then on he was my shadow,

and I his light, although

I did no more than scorch,

and he did no more than follow.

Oh, how many times, how many,

I saw him give hundreds

upon hundreds of sighs to the winds,

thousands upon thousands of tears,

with neither the chisel of perseverance

nor the file of attendance

able to work its mark within my heart

because in the end it was a diamond

protected even from the nicks

of the chisel and the file!

His love being in despair

by not being able to win

my love, and driven to despair

also by suffering and emoting,

one afternoon that I went out

to the pasture to feed

a herd little white lambs,

which in frolicking celebrated

freedom from the fold,

Céfiro approached me,

and, hugging me to him

like ivy to a wall,

like a grapevine to an elm,

said: “That which humble homage

has not been able to obtain,

violence will now take.”

And in that moment (dearest me!)

the west wind seized

the two of us with such a subtle movement

that I found myself flying

toward the clouds without wings;

since it was his father,

he lent him his wings so that

he would not watch his son die of love.

Look, what despicable devotion!

Who ever saw a campaign of

love so novel? Well, while the two of us

were flying like this, like a

frightened partridge

in the talons of a falcon,

like a heron in those of a hawk.

Finding myself fainting

to measure our distance

from the earth,

I shut my eyes and I held tight

to the traitorous son of the wind

Oh, what embrace is as despicable

as that which necessity makes

one give but that one does not feel!

With this fate the commanding ship

of the air arrived with me

to this haughty peak,

the neck of which that entire turquoise

globe is overwhelming with its weight.

There is a dark cave

in its harsh interior. Here, in its

empty depths, docked the

human ship, which an old man

came out to receive.

I will tell you all who he was later

because now it is only necessary to say

that he arrived, making the treachery honest

with the civil excuse of love,

the notion that causing us anger

is rendering us homage… understand,

and cover my shame with

things that do not need to be heard.

in order to be known,

Who would believe that such a strange

beginning of love had an

end so close that its being born

was its dying?

Believe it all, for another dawn

had scarcely arrived, crowned

by jasmine – I don’t know

whether to cry or to smile –

when, absent from my arms,

I saw Céfiro no longer.

Why must one trust he who pretends,

if he who loves proceeds this way?

In the power of that failing old man,

I remained. Now listen to me

with more attention, because

another case no less strange

begins here. This was

Tiresias, the clever magician,

of whom you have heard it said

so many times that

he amazed the gods with his

science, such that he read

the secrets of that bound

book of eleven sapphire pages,

and many times I saw him

announce and warn of

contingent futures.

How many times did he the

sun, placed on its zenith, eclipse?

And how many times did he make it

shine radiantly from its nadir?

How many times did he dresst

in crimson the white moon?

And how many times did he dress

the stars in the gold of Ofir?

Because he wanted to be the equal

of Jupiter, Jupiter had him made

blind and imprisoned him there.

Consider me now as a captive there,

and blind as well,

loathing my life;

and you will see the tears with which

I felt my sorrows.

Only one utility could

my solitude procure;

which was to learn his science,

of events, principally by

their causes in nature, to which I was

more inclined. There is not

a stone, a flower, a blade of glass, or a leaf,

in the end, who denies its nature …

but this is not for here.

One day, then, that failing skeleton

spoke to me in this way:

“I have found through my studies

that I am close to drawing my last

breath. Today is

when I have to die.

I have nothing to leave you,

oh gentle companion of my

fate, except that which I am now

going to tell you.

You are pregnant. You will

give birth to a gorgeously

handsome young man.

A voice and a beauty

will seek his end,

loving and loathing.

Guard what he sees and hears.”

I, already seeing the first signs

of the prediction fulfilled

in my childbirth and my son’s great beauty,

I feared all the rest of it.

In this way, without ever wanting him

to stray from that cave,

I lived protecting Narcissus

from his dangers,

raising him without letting him

come to know or surmise

more than I wanted him to, and in the end,

without ever seeing another

human being aside from me.

This is the reason why

I was taken to be your monster,

the shepherds perhaps seeing me

fleeing through the forest.

But, since the heavens have wanted

my secrets to be discovered,

conquered as I have been by that young man,

come all of you with me

after my son, as it is necessary

for him to live among you;

aside from that fact, his reason

already begins to affect him,

and I do not doubt that his misfortune

will kill him, seeing himself without me.

And in order for you to believe me

in everything that I repeated to you,

that if you have heard my life

sometimes referred to,

and there is at least one among you

who now remembers me,

I, who ran through

such grave storms in

the restless seas of fortune, I

who gave so many stories

to the never-silent bugle of

the fleeting fame,

I who was a laughable tragedy

to the theater of the world,

I, paragon of suffering,

I, epilogue of tormented emotion,

I, figure of sighing,

of crying and moaning,

I am the daughter of Sileno,

the unfortunate Liríope.
SILENO: Oh, daughter of my soul!

Let me embrace you

a thousand and one times.

I am Sileno. And I well deserved

that the dead girl for whom I cried

lives on to be embraced, to see and hear,

let death come, as now

I have nothing more to live for.


LIRÍOPE: I am humbly at your feet ,

though my shame here

weighs a great deal

on the happiness there is within me.

ECHO: Let my embrace be congratulations

for such a happy event.

FEBO: Here silence says more

than speech is able to say.


SILVIO: Until I see you all stripped

of the skin that you wear,

I do not dare to hug you.
ANTEO: I was fortunate a thousand times over,

that I managed to bring

such happiness to the valley.
LIRÍOPE: It will be better when you all

see my son, in whom clever

nature invests its perfections. Come

with me to the cave where

he awaits me. You will find there

the most beautiful diamond yet uncut,

the greatest ruby not yet polished.
They exit.
SILENO: Guide the way, my Liríope.
ECHO: All of us will go

together.


FEBO: Who would stay behind

rather than see the end of this adventure?


BATO: Me: if one must not trust

a docile woman, I say,

than who would trust that one,

who is so untamed and animal-like?


SILVIO: We are all going.
ALL: We are all going.
LIRÍOPE: Let’s go then. Follow my steps.

Narcissus, do not despair of

my absence. I am already coming for you.


Act II
Liríope, Sileno, Echo, Febo, Anteo, Bato, and Sirene enter,

along with all the others present at the end of the first act.
LIRÍOPE: I was unhappy a thousand times over.
FEBO: Listen.
SILENO: Wait.
ECHO: Take note.
SILVIO: Take a moment.
NISE: Look.
ANTEO: Notice.
SIRENE: Consider.
LIRÍOPE: There is no consolation for me,

with such a new misfortune

having followed the last,

that Narcissus is missing from

the cave. He has never left it

except for today alone,

and already I suspect his death.

Narcissus! Narcissus!

I shout out to the heavens in vain.

Without a doubt he struck out

from the cave in light of me having

been so late in coming here.

Oh, caution, kill me!
ANTEO: Do not fret, since as he has

to be on this mountain,

I will know how to search for him for you.
ALL: We will all go.
LIRÍOPE: Mine has been a cruel fortune.

Narcissus! I’m nearly dying!


SILENO: Oh, gods! When will complete

happiness occur (or – be complete)?


SILVIO: Let’s go roaming through this forest,

calling for him, as he will be

sure to respond.
LIRÍOPE: He will not because,

if we search for him in this way,

he, who has never seen people,

is more likely to hide

than to respond to the voices.

But listen to what my wit has

thought up. In order for him

to come in search of us, a ploy

must be had.
ALL: What must it be?
LIRÍOPE: There is nothing that has more

power to attract him

than to hear music, and this being the case,

dividing up, from here,

singing in order to move him;

let’s all go.


FEBO: With Laura along for the ride,

I’ll run throughout this mountainside.


SILVIO: And with Sirene I will go,

penetrating that lush grove.


ANTEO: And I with Libia will climb

the mountain’s peak in little time.

SILENO: And I, with Echo, have to measure

her greatest source of pain, not pleasure.


BATO: And I, with Nise, must as well

enter in that leafy hell.

And if our song is liked the least,

we’ll howl for Echo like a beast.


LIRÍOPE: Lacking law, without advice,

I will search all over twice.

Each one sings what he knows best.

Narcissus! Oh, Narcissus!


LAURA (singing): As this mountain’s hillside

strums the tune of my cries,

speak to me of Narcissus,

oh fountains and flowers.

NISE (singing): As the happy forest

hums my song,

of Narcissus speak to me,

oh flowers and fountains.


SIRENE (singing): As the mountain’s summit plays

to measure my intonation,

speak to me of Narcissus,

oh shadows and sunshine.

ECHO (singing): And as the cliffs

fiddle my affection,

of Narcissus speak to me,

oh sunshine and shadows.


LAURA: To the hillside!
NISE: To the forest!
SIRENE: To the summit!
ECHO: To the cliff!
LIRÍOPE: Hear all the men and women

say it:
LIRÍOPE,

MUSICIANS,

AND ALL: Narcissus!

To the hillside, to the jungle,

to the summit, to the cliff!


All exit.
Narcissus enters.
NARCISSUS: Although it seems to me that

that I hear the smooth voice

of my mother, it is but a shadow

that the lively breeze offers me

without her body,

since I have not been able to

find her however far I have

descended the mountain,

and I am already out of breath.

I will die here defeated by

Weariness, though it is not he who

fatigues me most, but rather Thirst.

For this reason I follow the sound

of the water in order for it to give me

relief, which runs while saying…
Music is heard within.
LAURA (singing): Speak to me of Narcissus,

oh fountains and flowers.


NARCISSUS: But what voice is this,

that so arrests me?


NISE (singing): Speak to me of Narcissus,

oh flowers and fountains.


NARCISSUS: How does it now,from two directions

want me to listen?


SIRENE (singing): Of Narcissus speak to me,

oh shadows and sunshine.


NARCISSUS: And even three, since

this other says…


ECHO (singing): Speak to me of Narcissus,

oh sunshine and shadows.


NARCISSUS: In following after all,

I follow after none.


ALL: To the hillside, to the forest,

to the summit, to the cliff!


LIRÍOPE: Hear all the men and women

calling:
LIRÍOPE,

MUSICIANS,

AND ALL: Narcissus!


NARCISSUS: How is it that, if you all

call to me, rich and beautiful

voices, you return from whence

you came fleeing so rapidly?

And not only do you not give

relief to my emotions,

but, turning them into insults,

you hamper my speech

because I follow my hearing?

And as I cannot discern

from which directions you speak,

may the sound that the crystalline

water makes among these rocks,

no less sweet, give me its relief,

this being the first time

that to find water has caused me

effort, since I never left the cave

until today, where a cork oak

was a less flattering basin

than the one I am looking at,

garnished by grasses

and branches, where…


LAURA (singing): Speak to me of Narcissus,

oh fountains and flowers.

NARCISSUS: The voice returns, speaking,

to stop me…


NISE (singing): Of Narcissus, speak to me,

oh flowers and fountains.


NARCISSUS: If it is me that you search for,

why do you run from me?


SIRENE (singing): Speak to me of Narcissus,

oh shadows and sunshine.


NARCISSUS: Since you do not give me relief,

why do you block my way?


ECHO (singing): Speak to me of Narcissus,

oh sunshine and shadows.


LIRÍOPE: Different tones chanting

at one time.

Hear all the men and women

calling:
LIRÍOPE,

MUSICIANS,

AND ALL: Narcissus!


NARCISSUS: Well, as I hear them all

and see no one,

I am returning to the water.

But how can I, if I still hear

this voice?
LAURA (singing): The illusion is a traitor

and the disillusionment true.

One is pain without sickness,

the other sickness without pain.


NARCISSUS: That voice alone would be able

to hold back a thirsty man.

I want to follow after the

flattering music of its intonation.


NISE (singing): If my ravings perhaps

should reach your threshold,

may pity for their suffering

erase the horror of their being mine.


NARCISSUS: But this one sounds closer,

though I love all of them,

and that one sings so sweetly.

But this other one drives me

out of my mind, because it has

more sweetness and gives me more pleasure.

Searching for it in this green denseness

suits me.


SIRENE (singing): Come, Death, so hidden,

that no one may feel you coming,

so the pleasure of dying

does not bring me back to life.


NARCISSUS: Upon the highest of those rocks,

another sweet voice rang out

that erased anew

all traces of those past.


ECHO (singing): Only the silence must bear

witness to my torment.

And yet all that I feel does not fit

within all that I do not say.


NARCISSUS: Heaven help me! This voice is

the queen of them all,

that, though I judged those I heard

until now both sweet and beautiful,

I swear this one has arrested me with more force.

How gorgeous must be its owner,

who wins through the ear

two affect that are, strictly speaking,

unequal in potency…
LAURA (singing): One is pain without sickness,

the other sickness without pain.


NARCISSUS: Voice, my spirit humbling,

you increase my mortal sickness…


NISE (singing): May the shame of them being an illness

quench the horror of it being mine.


NARCISSUS: I would not want to see my life

exhausted by such emotion…


SIRENE (singing): So that the pleasure of dying

might not bring me back to life


NARCISSUS: The suffering I feel, I force

myself to say it with my breath…

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